Have you told your loved ones about your debt?

Posted 12 January 2015

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Dealing with debt can be extremely difficult, especially if you’re hiding your debt from your loved ones.

Being in debt can be incredibly isolating, especially if you’re hiding your money problems from those closest to you. New research* from Legal & General (L&G) has found that discussing money worries with loved ones is something that many of us see as a social taboo.

The research found that more than one in ten people in relationships are more likely to lie to their partner about the state of their finances than about any other topic. This figure increases to almost a quarter of 25-34 year olds. The survey also found that 22 per cent of people lie about how much debt they’re in and 11 per cent hide their credit card statements from their partner.


Other research** conducted on behalf of the Debt Advisory Centre found that the amount of debt being concealed from partners is not small either. A survey carried out for us found a similar number of people to L&G’s who were in a relationship but hadn’t told their partners about their debts. And of these people, nearly half owed over £2,500, and a quarter owed more than £5,000.

Family and friends

Concealing the extent of your money worries is not just restricted to people in relationships. The survey conducted by Legal & General found that talking about debt amongst close friends is defined as the number one biggest social taboo. Only ten per cent of respondents said that they regularly spoke about their personal finances with their friends.


Discussing debt with parents isn’t something that many people want to do either: one in 5 respondents say that they don’t feel comfortable talking to their parents about their debt. And a further two in five admit that their parents don’t know how much debt they are in.

Taking the first step

Dealing with debt isn’t easy, but can seem even harder if you don’t discuss your concerns with those closest to you. If you shoulder the burden of debt alone, the experience can become even more isolating.


Opening up to a family member or a close friend about your debt will help you to get support from someone that you know and trust. It’s possible that they too may have struggled in the past, so try not to be afraid to approach them. Also, as you share your life with your partner, it’s important to be open with them about your debt. You and your partner’s finances may be linked, so they should be included in any decisions that you make about money.


If the thought of talking to a loved one about your debt seems too daunting, there are other people that you can speak to. Talking to an expert advisor at the Debt Advisory Centre could help you to understand the different debt solutions available to you, some of which charge a fee. Taking that first step to speaking to someone will mean that you no longer have to deal with your debt alone.



**OnePoll questioned a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults aged 18 and over between 2nd May and 12th May 2014, of whom 500 were Scottish residents. Figures have been extrapolated to fit ONS 2013 population projections of 50,371,000 UK adults.

by Shelley Bowers

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